I tweeted my first picture Saturday. It was from UCA's spring graduation. Our youngest daughter, Keely, had just graduated.
She was just one of hundreds of soon-to-be graduates in what was session three of UCA graduation day. The reporter in me kicked in as I scanned the program. Name, home town and major. That's it. I wish I knew more about the Class of 2013. There have to be some good stories.
Keely Sullivan, Little Rock, cum laude (3.69 GPA) in speech pathology.
That's the information you got on my favorite graduate from the official program. It doesn't tell you that for four years, just about every weekend, she traveled from Conway to Little Rock to work. Her senior year, she added Tuesday and Wednesday. Her mid-week went like this: school Tuesday AM, work Tuesday PM until 10:00, school Wednesday followed by work until 2 AM Thursday, then class at 9 AM. She did it without complaining or missing work or classes.
Caleb McLanahan from Wynne was also part of the class of 2013. His college journey started at ASU and included a stop at a Texas junior college before arriving in Conway for his last two years of college baseball. A 6'4" pitcher who found success on the diamond at UCA. If all goes right, Caleb won't have to use his degree until his pro career is over.
Hundreds of graduates, hundreds of stories
Graduation day is time to celebrate the achievement and the journey. If I could add one requirement for graduation, it would be an act of gratitude. It's hard to accomplish anything worthwhile without help and earning a degree is certainly an impressive milestone. It could be a text, email, tweet or gift to a teacher, friend, mentor or relative. Someone who made your path to a degree a little easier. Just saying "thanks" can mean a lot.
Looking back, I would have thanked the parents of one my college friends, Doyle and Sue Scott. Coming from Massachusetts to Arkansas, they provided me with a home away from home. I really don't know what I would have done without their generosity.
It's my hope that all graduates will get an opportunity chase their dreams. I don't want to think what my life would be like if I didn't pursue my dream of being the radio voice of the Boston Red Sox. My dad had high hopes for me. I did learn that sometimes you have to adjust your dreams. (The Red Sox never called.)
The three "P's"
Odds are that your first job won't be your dream job. My first job was doing news and sports reports from 4 AM to noon at a Fort Smith radio station. It wasn't much fun, I wasn't very good and it paid $800 a month. My big break involved the biggest blooper of my broadcasting career. An "R' rated slip that prompted the owner of the radio station to move to me the TV side of the operation.
People appreciate people who care. I've had several great mentors in that area going back to Bill Guffey and Ken Rank at KHBS in Fort Smith. Two men who approached the business in different ways but shared the same passion when it came to doing the job the right way. I also worked with Paul Eells. Few cared more about the people in his profession than Paul. He was a one-of-a-kind role model.
You never know when that opportunity will come. I have many great examples in my life but none better than KATV's Chris Kane. He had no idea a position would open at KATV when he was interning for me, but it did and Chris made hiring him an easy decision for Channel 7.
Congrats and good luck to the Class of 2013!!!!!